AKRON, Ohio — Akron has a new plan of attack when it comes to winter.
City officials have revealed an "aggressive" five-point snow removal strategy that they say is "hugely different."
This new plan was crafted after the city faced backlash and issued an apology amid a late-January snow storm last winter in which residents were angry that road conditions were still poor -- even days after the snowfall stopped.
“We heard you, and we listened to what you said in your concerns and your input," said Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville as the new plan was unveiled Wednesday. "We’ve responded in a way with actionable plans and dedicated new resources."
The biggest change in their five-point plan is ending its contract with ODOT, which required the city to plow and salt 150 miles of interstate roads.
"Last winter we experienced a once-in-a-decade snow storm, which ended up revealing some unacceptable weaknesses in our system," said Director of Public Service John Moore. "After that event, we immediately got to work critically evaluating every aspect of our strategy, with a commitment to being better prepared, across the board."
Moore also vowed better coordination with Akron schools and their bus dispatch system.
“We can address their concerns earlier in the [snow] event. Also, we’ll meet with them after the event to review and identify and address problems that occurred during the event."
See Akron's full five-point snow removal plan below:
#1 MORE PLOW TRUCKS & EQUIPMENT
- Ended ODOT maintenance contract for highways, allowing five more 15-ton plow trucks to be available for plowing city streets.
- Three new replacement five-ton trucks allowing additional backup equipment in major events.
- 13 additional smaller one-ton trucks outfitted with plows and / or salt spreaders, which will be used for complaint-response in every city ward.
- More aggressive maintenance schedules and additional city facilities for maintenance work (including the Copley Road facility) to reduce time equipment is out of service.
#2 BETTER ACCESS TO SALT
- Market is recovering from extreme salt supply shortage last winter with more materials now available nationwide.
- Secured 2019-2020 commitment of full quantity of salt at approximately 25,000 tons.
- More salt available for city streets by ending obligation to salt highways.
#3 ROUTE REVISIONS
- Recrafting of routes on city streets allowing quicker completion, and minimizing travel times between routes, materials and service locations.
- Continuing work with logistics experts to maximize effectiveness and efficiency.
- When needed, city will promptly call outside contractors for emergency assistance to plow pre-assigned areas.
#4 ENHANCED TRAINING
- Providing additional in-truck training of new plow drivers by experienced operators.
- Working with simulator vendors and partners to provide enhanced classroom training.
#5 IMPROVED POLICIES & TECHNOLOGY
- Working with City Council to adopt improvements to the parking ban procedure, including earlier notification.
- Supervisors in the field will have better access to automated vehicle location (AVL) system, 3-1-1 service requests and work order management in real time.
- Internal Constant Improvement Team established to review responses to events and make changes and improvements before the next event.